Clarification: This article was originally published on May 26, 2021.
There are many ways to find shelter when you have a pot on hand. It could be with a strong and steaming stew that transports us back to childhood; with a freshly made creamy puree, the kind that heals all sorrows; or with a good rice where everything enters and nothing is missing. But none of them – not even the combination of the three on the same plate – compares with the powers that only the queen of the national cookbook possesses: the generous and incomparable soup.
Be it a light broth or a vegetable cream; or a slow-cooker lollipop with plenty of ingredients: in our recipe book we have so many options to try and prepare that winter would not be enough for us to take them all. Actually, the weather here is just an excuse to include them more often on the menu. We Peruvians love to drink them throughout the year, but it is in the winter when the craving becomes even more present. If the body says so, you have to give it what it asks for. Which one do we start with?
We dared to ask ten of our best chefs to do the unimaginable: choose a single soup (difficult task when you are Peruvian) to accompany them this season. These are your tempting answers.
Ignacio Barrios (Urban Kitchen)
“I have a lot of soups, I like them hot and cold and in any season. I inherited that from my grandfather, who had soup every day of the year. I like them a lot: the pumpkin cream, the menestrón, the oriental soups … but the shrimp lollipop I think is unique. It has it all: it is a single dish, which is not accompanied by anything else. The one of Panchita punctually I like it a lot; He took it whenever he went or asked for it to go. Also, a shrimp chupe is a dish that you don’t usually make at home. On the other hand, you cannot find it all year round either because you have to respect the closed season. That makes it even more special “.
Elena Santos (The corner you don’t know)
“I love the lamb meat in the soup, especially in the Morón soup that they make in Chios Sopas, that they prepare it just as I like it. I have a predilection for those that have bones and lamb meat, especially in the broth. They are good things. Unfortunately there are some recipes that no one prepares anymore, like the casserole. For me, with its touch of coriander, they are delicious. Delicious!”.
Bratzo Vergara (Tanta)
“One of my favorite soups in Lima is the sopita siukao del chifa Hayta, which is located on 2701 Aviation Avenue, in San Borja. I like it a lot because it is a soup with essence, balanced and restorative. Siukao have a juicy and hearty filling of prawns, which adds a special touch. It has shoy sum, vegetables that provide a crunchy texture; in addition to the concentrated flavors of chicken, vegetables and kion. Sure they must put that Chinese dried fish (dried sole) that offers that spectacular umami that ties and embraces the flavors. I am from San Borja and this soup reminds me of those Sundays that we waited so long for, when my father would take us to eat at Hayta with the family. Its siukao soup was never missing from the center. The properties it has are restorative, it is a complete soup that warms you up and makes you sweat rich. So much so that you end up satisfied and renewed. I drink it all year round, it cannot be missing from my table if I visit this chifa; its a classic”.
Arlette Eulert (Matria)
“At home I prepare chicken soup, vegetable soup with plenty of squash or menestrón once a week. I eat soup all year round. 2020 has been a different year and we haven’t been able to go out to restaurants a lot, but I love sancochado and I try it everywhere. However, the last soup I ate was a forceful sweat of cheetah by weight in The Spicy by Fransua Robles. I really liked that it is a bit thick and that the flavor is powerful ”.
Francesca Ferreyros (Baan)
“One of the soups that I like the most in Lima is made in the chifa Tití and it’s called the Thai soup. I love it because it brings back a lot of memories of Thailand and it goes with the flavor profiles that I like: spicy, acidic, it has prawns, ugh !. It is very similar to Tom Yam soup, a classic of Thai cuisine. For me that spicy touch that they put in the Tití makes all the difference. Although we eat more soup in the winter – they cause me especially in the afternoon / night – in many places the soup is eaten all year round and even for breakfast, as in Thailand or Peru. Another soup that fascinates me, and I think they are still selling it, is Delifrance’s onion soup. A marvel”.
Mayra Flores (Shizen)
“My favorite soup is the menestrón. Everyone who knows me knows that I have an obsession with green noodles, with basil, it is my number one dish in the world. But the menestron is the best of both worlds. My paternal grandmother made the best green noodles and the best stew, so they both remind me a lot of my childhood. When they prepared them at home, they always sent me a special container just for me, because I loved them. In general I have soups in summer or winter; soup has nothing to do with the season for me. A good meal to take these days is the one they serve in The Still Life. When it provokes me one and I can’t prepare it, I ask from there ”.
Javier Miyasato (Maketo)
“For me it is the fish chupe of Network. It is a soup that I like a lot, because it brings me a lot of nostalgia for my grandmother. José del Castillo has that hand, that seasoning that refers us to that. My grandparents had a tavern in Callao that I never got to know, but I always heard about the things they cooked; some were Japanese dishes, but mainly Creole food was served because of the clientele they had. My grandmother told me that one of the most requested was her Creole soup, with the classic fried bread that floats. The chupe that José makes has fish chicharrón, and that frying refers me to that dish. Things get mixed up and it ends up being a super comforting soup, which unintentionally brings back these very nice memories. In addition, it is delicious, with just the right dressing and a touch of oregano ”.
Jimmy Zamora (Papachos)
“One of the soups that has marked my life the most is the chicken broth, specifically that of the Flowering Orchard, when it still existed and was on the Way of Avoidance. That was the first time in my life that I tried it. When I was a boy my dad would park in the middle of the Vía and right there we could get off. It was a super plate, huge. I remember that we always went on weekends, after spending the day outside of Lima. When we returned we always fell ”.
Carolina Uechi (Kilo)
“I love the soups from La Picanteria (their chilcano is concentrated and raises the dead) and Tokio Ramen (in the broth you can feel the hours of cooking and their noodles are very traditional). But my favorite, because it is more elaborate, is the Pho Bo of Viet, Vietnamese food restaurant located on Aviation Avenue. Pho Bo is a traditional Vietman soup made from a concentrated stock of various meats. They serve it with three cuts and one of them is the Bo Vien, which are Vietnamese-style meat balls that they prepare in the same restaurant. At the end, at the table, you add fresh herbs such as coriander, mint, basil and a little Chinese beans, which are cooked instantly with the heat of the broth ”.
Ricardo Martins (Siete)
“For me it is the parboiled that they serve in Toasted coffee, in Barranco. It is my favorite because of the space, tradition, flavor and sense of location. It reminds me of home, of the neighborhood kitchen ”.